Photography
Franco Fontana
Franco Fontana
Franco Fontana
Franco Fontana
Franco Fontana
Franco Fontana
Franco Fontana
Franco Fontana
Franco Fontana
Franco Fontana
Franco Fontana
Franco Fontana
Franco Fontana
Franco Fontana
Franco Fontana
Franco Fontana
Franco Fontana
Franco Fontana
Franco Fontana
Franco Fontana
Franco Fontana
Franco Fontana
Franco Fontana
Franco Fontana
Franco Fontana
Franco Fontana
Franco Fontana
Franco Fontana
Franco Fontana
Franco Fontana
Franco Fontana
Franco Fontana
Franco Fontana
Franco Fontana
Franco Fontana
Franco Fontana
Franco Fontana
Franco Fontana

Introduction

Franco Fontana was born in Modena in 1933. Since the 1960s, he has been one of the great masters of colour photography. His early studies on colour, space, form and light were presented in his first solo exhibition in Turin, at the Società Fotografica Subalpina in 1965, and in Modena in 1968.


He began his aesthetic investigation in 1961; in 1963, he exhibited at the Third International Biennal of Colour in Wien. Between the 1960s and the 1970s he published numerous books and had many solo and group exhibitions throughout Italy and Europe.

His most famous series Landscapes appeared for the first time in1970, in the solo exhibition at Palace of the Diamonds of Ferrara, showing a marvellous visual synthesis between chromatic perception and photographic ability to disclose nature's hidden geometry. In his photographs Fontana isolates essential elements of abstraction from a sequence of forms, shapes and colours: for his pictorial sensibility he has been measured up to eminent painters such as Tobey, Rothko, Poliakoff?

In 1979 a trip in the United States forced him to confront with new urban spaces that deeply differed from the environment he had until then experienced. What he found was a surprising landscape, seemingly chaotic and disharmonic yet bursting with visual stimuli from which he could masterly isolate the most significant elements. Chromatic themes and geometrical forms still prevail in this series, titled Urban Landscape, as the works rarely portray a human figure. It's only later on , with the series Presenza Assenza (end of 1979/1980) that human shapes appeared, in the form of ethereal and disquieting shadows, playing with architectural elements and overturning perspectives.


More eloquent then a tangible physical presence, these shadows symbolize the unconscious and thus emphasize the allusion to Italian metaphysical paintings (De Chirico, Savinio). In fact, in his exploration of American cities, Fontana has often portrayed individuals with their own shadows, thus suggesting one again, through different representations, the unfathomable mystery of human nature. At the same time, his work Sorpresi nella luce Americana, 2001 pays homage to the vivid atmosphere of Edward Hoppers's paintings and to the solitude of the alienated and humble protagonists of urban life. In 1981 he held different workshops in Arles and Venice and published a black and white work for the volume Contact, printed by Lustrum Press (New York). In 1985, at the University of Turin, Fontana held a number of workshops that were later on collected in the book La scrittura fotografica by Liborio Termine. In 1986, he started the successful collaboration with Alexander Liberman for Vogue Usa and Vogue France and also signed the promotional campaign for Volkwagen, Volvo, Ferrari, Grundig, Kodak etc. He subsequently signed several artistic calendars and other numerous advertising campaigns, including works for the fashion industry (Satoh, Versace, Hermes, etc.)

In 1989, he began to collaborate with the magazine Il Venerdi, weekly insert of the Italian newspaper La Repubblica, and in the same year, he was awarded the Premio della Cultura Presidenza dei Ministri, in Rome. In 1995, he participated in the Venice Biennale with the exhibit Un secolo di ritratto fotografico in Italia 1895-1995. In 2001, he was listed in the Enciclopedia Britannica and represented Italy, together with De Chirico, Schifano and Ceroli, at the First Biennial at The Museo de Arte de Buenos Aires.


Since 2000, Fontana has been carrying out a study on the microcosm of signs and fragments on urban street paving (Asfalti).

Biography

Solo exhibitions (selected)

2010 

Museo di Roma in Trastevere, Rome in focus Galerie, Cologne, Germany


2009  

Galerie Stephen Hoffman, München, Germany

Polaroids, Galleria Cà di Frà, Milano, Italy


2008

Presenze assenze, Galleria Melesi, Lecco, Italy


2007

Paesaggi urbani e naturali - Leggermente Fuori Fuoco, Salerno Galleria Cà di Frà, Milano, Italy

Asfaltieasfalti, Galleria Arte e Arte, Bologna, Italy


2006

Boxart Gallery, Verona, Italy

Museo de Bellas Artes, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Istituto Italiano di Cultura, Toronto, Canada

Galleria Oredaria Arti Contemporanee, Roma, Italy

The European House of Photography, 20 photographs from the Cotroneo Collection, Paris, France


2005

Spazio Private Bank Ersel  /  Photo&Contemporary, Turin, Italy

baudoin lebon, Paris, France

Artef Galerie, Zurich, Germany

Magazzini del Sale, Venice, Italy


2004

Palazzo Reale, Milano, Italy

Focus Gallery, London, UK


2003

Route 66, Fondazione Italiana per la Fotografia, Turin, Italy

Edward Steichen Space, Luxembourg, Luxembourg


2002

Route 66, Palazzo Magnani, Reggio Emilia, Italy

Galleria Sozzani, Milano, Italy

Clairefontaine Gallery, Luxembourg, Luxembourg

Biennale Fotografia Internazionale, Brescia, Italy


2001

Focus Gallery, London, UK

Illa Remmert / Modern Art Gallery of Turin, Italy

Castello Aragonese, Ischia, Italy


2000

Centro Internazionale Scavi Scaligeri, Verona, Italy

1999

Photo&Contemporary, Turin, Italy

Istituto di Cultura Italiana, San Franciscon, U.S.A.


1998

Past Rays Gallery, Yokohama, Japan


1997

Polaroids, baudoin lebon, Paris, France

Galerie zur Stockeregg, Zurich, Germany


1995

Palazzo Ducale, Mantova, Italy

Photology Gallery, Milano, Italy

American House, Frankfurt, Germany


1994

Castello Visconteo, Pavia, Italy

Eslite Gallery, Taipei, Taiwan


1993 

Galeria Railowsky, Valencia, Spain

Tour des Lépreux, Aosta, Italy


1991

Photographical Space, Paris, France

Gallery Diaframma, Milano, Italy


1990

Photography Museum, Helsinki, Finland

Low Block City Hall, Hong Kong

Italy's Cultural Center, Stockholm, Stockholm, Sueden

Kodak Photo Salon, Tokyo, Japan


1989

Cento volte America, Palazzo San Giorgio, Genoa, Italy


1988

Centrum voor Fotografie, Rotterdam, the Netherlands


1987

Fotoskema Gallery, Praha, Czech Republic

Jane Corkin Gallery, Toronto, Canada


1986

 Houston Foto Festival, Houston, U.S.A.


1985 

Galeria Foco 84, Madrid, Spain

Akademie der Kunste, Berlin, Germany

Reattu Museum, Arles, France


1984

Niepce Museum, Chalon-sur-Saône, France

Fine Arts Museum, Caracas, Venezuela

Culture House, Reims, France


1983

Photographer's Gallery, London, UK

Canon Salon, Tokyo, Japan

Viviane Esders Gallery, Paris, France

Puskin Museum, Moscow, Russia


1982

Camera Obscura, Stockholm, Sueden

Photo Art, Basel, Switzerland


1981

After Image Gallery, Dallas, USA

CCD Gallery, Dusseldorf, Germany


1980 

Focus Gallery, San Francisco, U.S.A.

Ray Hawkins Gallery, Los Angeles, U.S.A.

FNAC, Paris, France

International Center of Photography, Barcelona, Spain

 


Group exhibitions (selected)


2013

Horizon(s), baudoin lebon, Paris, France


2011

Polaroid [Im]Possible, WestLicht. Schauplatz für Fotografie,  Vienna, Austria


2010

Arte Svelata, Palazzo Magnani, Reggio Emilia, Italy

Fernweh ..., Clairefontaine Gallery, Luxembourg


2009

Highlights, Clairefontaine Gallery, Luxembourg

Fotografia Astratta, Museum of Contemporary Photograph, Cinisello Balsamo, Milano, Italy

Les nuages ? là-bas? les merveilleux nuages, Malraux Museum, Le Havre, France


2008

The polaroid, Galleria Cà di Frà, Milano, Italy


2007

La calle en fotografias : La vida misma, National Musem of Fine Art, Buenos Aires, Argentina


2006

Colleziona - Forma, International Center of Photography, Milano, Italy

A Private History, the European House of Photography, Paris, France

My Collection, Ken Damy Museum, Brescia, Italy


2002

Camera con Vista, Experimental Centaer for Contemporary Art, Caraglio, Italy

International Biennial of photography, Brescia, Italy


2001

Nel segno del paesaggio, Melesi Gallery, Lecco, Italy

fotos, Bilder und Objekte, Doris Wullkopf Gallery, Lindau, Germany


2000

Ken Damy Museum, Brescia, Italy

PASSAGGI, FIGURE E PAESAGGI - Forma - International Center of Photography, Milano, Italy

 

1996

L´erba del Vicino, Melesi Gallery, Lecco, Italy

1995

46th International Art Exhibition Venice Biennale, Venice, Italy


1993

Dipinto di Blu, Melesi Gallery, Lecco, Italy


1987

Hommage a Ferrari, Foundation Cartier for Contemporary Art, Paris, France


1986

Housto foto Festival, Houston, U.S.A.


1983

Canon Salon, Tokyo, Japan


1982

Photo Art Basel, Bâle, Switzerland


1978

Franco Fontana & Pedro Fondevila - Spectrum Sotos, Zaragoza, Spain

 

  • From Nature to Art, from Art to Nature, Venice Biennial, Venice, Italy


1976 

Three Italian Photographers - Optica - Center for contemporary art, Montreal, QC

From Nature to Art, from Art to Nature, Venice Biennial, Venice, Italy



Bibliography  (selected)


1978

SKYLINE - Ed. Contrejour, Paris


1983

FRANCO FONTANA-FULLCOLOR - Ed. Contrejour, Paris


1983 

FRANCO FONTANA - Ed. Nippon Geijutsu, Tokyo


1987

FRANCO FONTANA- FOTOGRAFIE 1965-1987 - Ed. Allemandi, Torino


1990

KALEIDOSCOPE - Ed.Art&, Udine


1994 

LANDSCAPE MOMENTS - Ed. Rebecchi, Modena


2001

FRANCO FONTANA FOTOGRAFIE 1960-2000 - Ed. GAM,Torino


2001

SORPRESI NELLA LUCE AMERICANA - Ed. Federico Motta, Milano


2003  

PAESAGGI: FRANCO FONTANA/MARIO GIACOMELLI - Ed. Gribaudo, Savigliano


2003 

FRANCO FONTANA - Ed. Federico Motta, Milano


2005 

FRANCO FONTANA - RETROSPETTIVA - Ed. Logos, Modena 2005

6 X TORINO - Ed. GAM , Torino 2005

 

 

public collections

Collections (selected)


International Museum of Photography, Rochester, USA

Museum of Modern Art, New York, USA

Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, USA

Art Institute, Chicago, USA

Museum of Fine Art, Houston, USA

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, USA

Ludwig Museum, Colonia, Germany

Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts, Moscow, Russia

Australian National Gallery, Melbourne, Australia

Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Metropolitan Museum, Tokyo, Japan

Israel Museum, Gerusalemmme, Israel

Museum of Modern Art, Paris

FNAC (the national fund of contemporary art), Paris, France

Kunsthaus Museum, Zurich, Germany

Victoria & Albert Museum, London, UK

UBS collection, Zurich, Germany

Deutsche Bank collection, London, UK

Unicredit Bank, Milano, Italy

Exhibitions

Mathieu BERNARD-REYMOND / Gilles Desrozier / Franco Fontana